Cover image for Saying good-bye : a special farewell to Mama Nkwelle
Saying good-bye : a special farewell to Mama Nkwelle
Onyefulu, Ifeoma.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Brookfield, Conn. : Millbrook Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 22 x 29 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.8 0.5 48777.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GT3289.N6 O59 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Oversize

On Order



For a fresh and positive perspective on death and dying follow Ikenna, our young narrator, as he describes the funeral celebration of his great-grandmother, Mama Nkwelle. Far from a sad, somber occasion, a traditional Nigerian funeral lasts more than two weeks and includes dancing, drumming, and gift-giving along with quiet reflection and prayer. Vibrant photographs portray a typical Nigerian extended family and its community so matter-of-factly that the reader feels part of it, too. A fascinating look at an African community.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-7. A young Nigerian boy, Ikenna, describes the traditional village funeral of his great-grandmother, Mama Nkwelle. The two weeks of mourning are also a celebration of her life, and clear color photographs show the grief at the burial and then the singing, dancing, gift giving, and storytelling that goes on among her extended family and close community. As in Onyefulu's Grandfather's Work (1999), the informal pictures show how people live today. The young child's first-person narrative will also open up discussion about the death of loved ones and how to say good-bye and remember them. --Hazel Rochman

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-This deeply personal story looks at the stately Nigerian funeral for the author's grandmother, said to be "the greatest traditional dancer of her generation," as told by Onyefulu's young son. "When Mama Nkwelle died, everyone came to say good-bye. Uncle Asika said it was a special good-bye. It took more days than I can count on my fingers. No wonder everybody worked so hard getting ready for it!" Through the brief text and beautiful full-color photographs, readers are given a window into the grieving and the many ceremonies involved in such a rite. It is only from reading the small print on the commemorative cups and bowls that readers learn that Mama Nkwelle was 102 years old. Like the author's A Is for Africa (1993), Chidi Only Likes Blue (1997, both Cobblehill), and Emeka's Gift (Puffin, 1999), this book's design is bold and appealing. The first page contains an author's note and a small map of Africa with Nigeria outlined and labeled. This book could be used in the study of other cultures or funeral customs, or it could be used on its own as a sweet intergenerational story.-Genevieve Ceraldi, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.